I’m An Introvert and That’s Ok

I’m an introvert and that’s ok.

It’s who I am – but it has taken me a long time to accept that fact.

We introverts can be misunderstood, you see: our shyness can be mistaken for rudeness; our preference for reading a book over attending a big gathering assumed to be a tendency towards being anti-social, for example.

A couple of points about introverts:

We can be shy, and I for one am sorry if that is ever mistaken for rudeness – I can remember being at many a social occasion desperately trying to think of something to say (I hate small talk). My brain will be going a million to the dozen seeking something intelligent and appropriate to the occasion, making me more nervous, meaning that when I do manage to say something it tends to blurt out in a bit of gobbledegook (I tend to talk very fast when I’m nervous). I then feel really stupid, and then more nervous…big fat vicious circle.

Much better, then, to observe quietly!

I’m not as shy as I used to be – life events have given me a sense of boldness and the perspective that there are worse things than saying something daft.

A tip I’ve learnt is to give a dazzling smile, and to ask the other person about themselves – (lots of people love talking about themselves!), meaning we introverts only need to smile, nod, and make comments or ask more questions at the appropriate moments. Happily, I’ve had some interesting conversations this way – it’s a good way to break the ice.

And remember, you can move on by making a polite excuse if they’re really boring.

We’re Not Antisocial – speaking for myself and other introverts I know we love home comforts. Our favourite pastimes include reading one of our extensive selection of books, or watching a DVD.

Through these activities, we can escape to other places without moving an inch – and we don’t have to talk to anyone. That’s not necessarily being antisocial – sometimes I know I just don’t have the energy to have a conversation with someone.

That lack of conversational and social energy has got worse since Hugo died, understandably. My energy is finite, and most of it is usually spent on getting through the day – avoiding triggers, finding things to feel positive about, grieving for my little boy.

So, while it can be easier to stay in the sanctuary of my own home, I am not antisocial. I love meeting new people. Thank goodness for social media! It means I can be alone without being lonely because I can interact with others when I feel able.

I do love meeting people in real life, too – just in small doses, preferably.

Getting dressed up to go somewhere is lovely. I can sometimes feel a bit anxious about a big gathering especially if I am arriving alone, but my strategy is to linger on the periphery until I find someone to talk to.

To be honest, I find big gatherings, and conferences especially exhausting. So much stimulation, so many things to listen to, people to meet and chat to, so much noise! As much as I do enjoy them, they are draining and I’m often glad to get home for a bit of peace and quiet and to recharge.

The graphic below describes very succinctly the effect of people on introverts:

headspace-perspective.com #HugosLegacy (1)

 

I hope this is useful for introverts and extroverts alike. We’re all people, we just have our different ways – it’s what makes the world interesting!

It sounds rather Monty Python, but I’m an introvert and that’s ok. I sleep all night and read all day…

Speak soon (and by speak, I mean text message).

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And then the fun began...

16 Comments on I’m An Introvert and That’s Ok

  1. Mel
    August 18, 2015 at 11:52 pm (2 years ago)

    I can really relate my lovely. I love talking, don’t get me wrong, but i really struggle with people I don’t know. Your tip of asking people about themselves (and most importantly keep them talking with questions at the appropriate times) is brilliant. xx #TheTruthAbout
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    • Leigh
      August 21, 2015 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      Hope that tip works for you, lovely Mel. Thanks for commenting xxx

      Reply
  2. Sam
    August 18, 2015 at 7:56 pm (2 years ago)

    I wrote a post about an ‘insights’ course I did at work not long ago Leigh which basically covers the four main personality types using colours – you may be familiar with it – based on Briggs-Myers thingummy. I am definitely a blue/green introvert and the bit about how energy is drained in different ways for different personality types was very interesting and made a lot of sense. I like being on the social media for the same reasons – you get to decide when to switch off too! Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout Xx
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    • Leigh
      August 21, 2015 at 8:48 am (2 years ago)

      Ah yes, never done that test myself but I’ve heard it’s very insightful! The energy drain makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it! It’s great we have so many options these days to be social in our own way and own time. Thanks for your kind comment, Sam xxx

      Reply
  3. Potty Mouthed Mummy
    August 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m an enormous introvert. People always tell me they thought i was rude/stuck up and other such things when they first met me. I just am not comfortable in those situations. Fab post lovely and lovely new blog look xx
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    • Leigh
      August 18, 2015 at 3:38 pm (2 years ago)

      People commonly mistake introverts for being rude – it’s happened to me too, lovely Sian. Hopefully people will learn to tell the difference between genuine rudeness and social discomfort. Thanks re the new blog look- I’m very pleased with it xxx

      Reply
  4. Betty and the Bumps
    August 18, 2015 at 10:54 am (2 years ago)

    I have suffered with crippling generalised anxiety disorder for most of my life, so I know that I come across as rude and difficult to talk to because I find meeting new people absolutely mortifying.

    I can live with it, because I suppose I’ve just had to accept that some people will never know the real me, but those who really matter to me will do eventually.

    I also have a massive phobia of speaking on the phone so I did giggle about that “Speak soon, by which I mean by text message” part!!! xx

    #thetruthabout
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    • Leigh
      August 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh bless you Beth – that’s the trouble isn’t it people take the first impression rather than getting to know the real you – but that’s their loss!
      I’d rather not talk on the phone if I can avoid it – thank goodness for social media and texting. Thanks for your lovely comment xxx

      Reply
  5. Alice @ The Filling Glass
    August 18, 2015 at 6:02 am (2 years ago)

    This is great Leigh, I could have written it myself, it says so much that I feel. I especially liked what you said about being social – I love to meet people and do social things but the more people at once the more anxious and overwhelmed I feel. And yes I love just having a bit of time to myself sometimes (not that it happens very often!). Hope you get some recharging time today! Xx
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    • Leigh
      August 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Alice, amazing how many people feel the same way isn’t it! Hope you get some recharging time too xxx

      Reply
  6. Amanda
    August 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh this resonates!! I could have written this exact post:-) Great tip to ask others anout themselves – takes the heat off from having to think of something sensible to say whilst feeling nervous!

    Reply
    • Leigh
      August 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm (2 years ago)

      Hope the tip helps you, thanks for your fab comment! xx

      Reply
  7. Tim
    August 17, 2015 at 11:00 am (2 years ago)

    This is all very true – I’ve written something along similar lines in the past too. I know exactly what you mean about finding conferences and big gatherings overwhelming. Fellow introverts will understand me when I say how being in a room full of people can leave me feeling like the loneliest person in the world.

    Even at BritMums Live, where I had a whale of a time and surprised myself by being (for me) very outgoing, I found the whole experience draining. Every now and then I had to take myself off and have 5 minutes’ alone-time just to recharge my batteries. I’m sure I offended a few people by abruptly pleading that I needed to be elsewhere – it wasn’t intentional at all.

    Friends often comment how I have a tendency to disappear completely when in a group, but when I’m with someone one-to-one I’m relaxed with I suddenly come alive in conversation. That’s a very introvert thing too – I’m not bored in social groups, just more comfortable being quiet and listening.
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    • Leigh
      August 18, 2015 at 3:45 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m sure you didn’t offend anyone, Tim – that event is so hectic and you get pulled in all directions! I’m the same in social groups – I find observing fascinating, and always think extroverts must miss out on a lot of fascinating non-verbal communication…x

      Reply
  8. Hannah Budding Smiles
    August 17, 2015 at 10:44 am (2 years ago)

    I love this! I think my shyness then comes across as me being a complete dumbass because I end up talking too much. My head screams at me to shut up but I can’t! I’m a more confident person since meeting Phil and having Toby, but still get verbal diarrhoea haha xx
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    • Leigh
      August 18, 2015 at 3:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Aw! I always worried about seeming to be a dumbass because I’d talk too much out of nervousness too. I think we get a bit more comfortable with who we are as we get older which helps too xxx

      Reply

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